“The Pink House” is a photographic series about what happens when the dream home is left abandoned. At the time I started creating this work my mother was losing her home to foreclosure. She spent the next few years bouncing around living situations. Watching her go through this made me want to put a hammer through a wall. The idea of having a dream home felt like a lie. One perpetuated by a consumer culture that always left us feeling like we never had enough. So much nostalgia and emotion is tied to our abodes. It is our safe space at the end of the day where we create memories and hold our sacred objects.
We moved a lot growing up, so something I always had access to were boxes. You can turn them into just about anything: a rocket ship, a cubby, or a house. I wanted to give my toys a resting place to return to at the end of the day. With the boxes as my base, I took whatever I could find to make their houses more hospitable: a coat of paint here and there, glitter accents, or artwork made from mail catalogs to hang over furniture built from smaller boxes. Using many of these same techniques that I picked up as a kid, I created a modern day version for my narrative, building small scale sets from scratch. Sometimes just coming across an interesting rock to paint gold would spark an idea for a room’s story. Months were spent building and dressing the sets to their ideal state only to then distress them over and over until they conveyed the desired emotion or passage of time for the final photograph, taken in one sixtieth of a second. Fittingly, I was down to my last few rolls of Kodak Portra VC, a beautiful discontinued negative film that electrifies mauve and yellow hues. I wanted to send it off in the best possible way. This series is my love letter to that film.
I leave it up to the viewer to decide what left this house vacant. Maybe it was foreclosed on, or maybe the occupants were run off. For whatever reason it has been left behind and is in ruins. Multiple waves of explorers have passed through. There is destruction left by some of the more aggressive ones. Others seemed to just be looking for a safe space to sleep. Drawings litter rooms. Debris becomes repurposed. All signs of life making the most of an otherwise dire situation. Through the study of this miniature world and documentation of the waves of occupants that have paused here, home becomes what it is at its core: shelter. As material objects break and decay, the spirit of survival carries on.
Joshua Tree National Park is a special place - a mecca for creative people seeking to find inspiration while quieting their minds under yucca palms. Joshua trees used to cover a much larger expanse of the American Southwest, but have slowly shrunk to a small area of Southern California. 30% of the park has no saplings or young tree growth. The young life is simply not able to survive as well as they have in the past due to a hotter, more arid climate. The desert holds some of the most resilient flora and fauna, but even still they are having trouble holding on as the planet warms up. My Holga has been my travel camera of choice for over a decade. The pinhole vignette and ability to manually blend images together on film leaves a dreamy ethereal effect. The photographs captured are idealized visions of what I saw and by being able to blend scenes into each other can tell a longer story than a single frame, making it ideal for capturing landscapes. The film used is expired slide film that I cross-processed to add another layer of saturation to an already vibrant palette.
I always want to make work that will stop someone in their tracks and cause them to linger a little longer. My hope is they will take in the view, reflect on what is going on, and in the end….care.
A solo show of Stunning Views will be exhibited at LAAA/Gallery 825 in 2019!!
Reception: Sat. May 11, 2019, 6-9pm
Exhibition dates: May 11 – June 14
i was born in fort worth, texas in the early 80s. it was a great place to be a kid. full of nature, wildlife, and wide open spaces. we moved to the d.c. area for most of my adolescence, but texas never left my parents' hearts. eventually they moved back to the city they always felt was home. what they came back to was a place that had been overrun by the natural gas industry. large drills were erected on every swath of open space, totaling over 1,000 active wells within fort worth city limits. one such drill with a tarp barrier around it was across the street from homes in my parents' neighborhood, less than a football field away from where kids play. homes will sit on the market waiting for buyers, but no one will buy when you can smell chemicals in the air and drinking water. an area not known to have earthquakes prior now experiences tremors. in 2011-12 with my holga in hand i documented the beauty that this place still has where the wildflowers fight to take back their landscape.
not your doll
photoshop is now at the tip of everyone's fingertips. when images reach the art department of a publication, ad agency, or stock image house they become riddled with notes for retouching: make the waist smaller, breasts bigger, whiten teeth, sometimes even a head swap is thrown in. with these tools, imaginary bodies and impossible ideals are created and sent out into the ether to be consumed by the general public, including elementary school-aged girls first becoming aware of their own bodies. our idea of femininity is “frankensteined.” the first image that was created for this series in 2009 was “hallux ridigus,” taken the afternoon the bandages came off my feet from having a bilateral bunionectomy, a relatively common, and widely preventable, surgery. when I went back to work, what I heard shocked me: “how soon can you wear heels?”